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What to do if the Smartwatch breaks

One of the two smartwatches currently spearheading the market.
One of the two smartwatches currently spearheading the market.
David Haydon

As soon as Google announced their "Android Wear" operating system for smartwatches, the Internet blew up with "Rip Apple" and "Compared to the abomination that is Samsung Gear, that looks beautiful."

But a smartwatch is a smartwatch. And the things about watches is sooner or later, they break. The strap gets ripped after overuse. The screen smashes against a brick wall. Someone drops their Pebble in the bath. Like the bumper sticker goes: "stuff happens."

Stuff like accidental damage.

That's the magic word for warranties. Most in-store warranties don't cover accidents. If you tend to read consumerist-minded websites, you'll know a lot of retail insiders whose job it is to offer the in-store warranty tend to be pessimistic about the whole thing. They don't like the half-truths. They don't like tricking people. They're pressured to press the warranty. Behind closed doors they admit it's just the retailer attempting to charge extra without including the only thing a consumer wants to insure against: accidental damage. Third-party warranty companies tend to offset this, but usually for items that matter, such as phones and cameras.

Having peace of mind about a smartwatch is moot. The sales performances of the Sony Pebble and Samsung Gear have been less-than-spectacular, or at least to a degree that most extended warranty companies have held their breath until the Apple iWatch. Securranty, an electronic warranty company based in Texas, recently created a protection plan for most smartwatches.

With the "Android Wear" operating system announced, demand is expected to rise. The question is, will consumers bother to warranty their smartwatches?

If the trend follows smartphones, probably so. iPhones come with a limited warranty. A quick run on shows a maze to find a specific model's warranty and a wall of text when you find it. Strictly speaking, the limited warranty Apple offers "does not apply: . . . (d) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, liquid contact, fire, earthquake or other external cause . . . "

Disregarding the acts of God, Securranty's smartwatch warranty covers accidents. It runs eight cents over $4 a month. You break it, they repair it. They can't repair it, they replace it.

There is a caveat. Securranty only offers plans to devices bought within the last month. This is less about something you've already got, and more about being proactive. The coverage spans all models of "new or refurbished Smartwatches purchased in the last 30 days." Unless of course, you break it more than four times, which implies some sort of irresponsibility.

Do you prepare for redundancies? The "pennies a day" ruse is true at face value. No consumer wants to drop $300 for a year, AKA thousands of pennies. But a third party warranty of $60 a year is easier to swallow.

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